Release family planning funds to avert deaths says Group urge Niger Government - COVID-19
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
The Niger State Government has been tasked to urgently release funding for Maternal and Reproductive Health Services to avert the death of women and girls from Reproductive Health complications concerning COVID-19 in the State.
The State Technical Working Group, TWG, on Child spacing and the Adolescent Youth Reproductive Health said if budgetary allocations are not released on time, it could lead to increased possibilities for complications and death among women in the state.
It would be recalled that in 2017, the Niger State government committed to increasing the Contraceptive Prevalence Rate (CRP) from 6.6% to 25% by 2020 with a vision for Family Planning expressed in the Costed Implementation Plan (CIP) of the state.
The TWG led by the Project Director of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health (CCRHS), Dr. Aliyu Yabagi Shehu revealed that from 2015 to 2020 over N250 million have been allocated in the State Budget for family planning out of which only N15.5 million was released.
According to them, “The projects of the CIP, if implemented is expected to avert 250,000 unintended pregnancies, 90,000 abortions, and 2500 maternal deaths within 2018 and 2020, this will create a demographic dividend that boosts economic growth and breakout from the cycle of poverty.”
TWG at a meeting held in Minna with the support of the Centre for Communication and Reproductive Health, CCRHS, a subgrantee of the PACFaH@Scale project, stated that additional funds are needed for the COVID-19 response to protect health workers and women accessing reproductive health services in the State, especially in conflict-affected LGAs of the state.
“There is a need for the government to continue to improve access to health facilities for effective Reproductive Health services at all times to protect the health and safety of women of reproductive age and girls in the state.
“We call for the urgent release of Family Planning Funds to effectively provide adequate lifesaving reproductive healthcare and women’s protection services until the end of 2020”.
The Project Director warned that, with the fast-growing population, Niger State will be required to take steps to ensure population management to attain the State’s demographic dividends.
He further disclosed that for Niger State to harvest positive health indicators, it has to do more for the population in terms of increased funding and access to family planning services and reducing inequities in the health delivery system.
Yabagi then called on stakeholders (Media, Religious Group, Traditional Leaders and CSOs) to be a voice in ensuring that universal access to health care is available for young women and investment in contraceptives and unmet needs for family planning are available in Niger State.
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